Driven by the reduced costs of technology and wider availability of WiFi, urban environments are being upgraded with a pervasive network of cameras and embedded sensors to monitor the safety and well-being of both the city and its residents. Whether tracking the integrity of vital infrastructure, providing a real-time picture traffic conditions or keeping a watchful eye on potential crime this intelligent web of information brings greater awareness to both citizens and officials. Here are two of the best examples that PSFK Labs has seen around the theme of Urban Vigilance:
Predictive Analytics Reduce Emergency Response Time to City Incidents
I.B.M’s Smarter Cities unit has it built a citywide system in Rio De Janeiro that leverages real-time information to anticipate problems, analyze trends, and coordinate available resources. Integrating data from over 30 agencies operating in the city, I.B.M’s Operations Center collates data captured by sensors, video cameras, and GPS devices throughout the city and utilizes an algorithm to identify patterns and trends. I.B.M has also installed a virtual operations platform for integrating information that comes in via phone, radio, e-mail and text message and allows city employees to view real-time information from an accident scene, or see how many ambulances have been dispatched to an incident, for example. The new alert system is expected to drastically reduce the reaction times to emergency situations by using instantaneous mobile communications, including automated email notifications and instant messaging, to reach emergency personnel and citizens.
Baking Innovation Into Smart Cities
A planned city in Portugal called PlanIT Valley is expecting to install more than 100 million sensors. The sensors will be used for a whole range of services, including smart transit and parking; emergency services dispatching; energy monitoring and management in smart buildings; and monitoring infrastructure condition and performance. Sensors in homes will be set-up to identify water leaks and will be capable of autonomously notifying a plumber. The planned city sensors will feature the equivalent to nearly 450 sensors per capita.